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Announcement to remove inpatient charge will be a huge relief to cancer patients – Irish Cancer Society

By Reporter - 27th Sep 2022

The abolition of hospital charges announced in today’s Government Budget 2023 will be a huge help for patients at a tough time financially, according to the Irish Cancer Society.

Each time a patient without a medical card attends hospital for treatment they are currently charged €80 per visit, up to an annual cap of €800.

Irish Cancer Society Director of Advocacy, Ms Rachel Morrogh said: “After many years of campaigning to reduce the costs carried by cancer patients, the Irish Cancer Society welcomes today’s momentous announcement that hospital inpatient charges are to be abolished. This will come as a huge relief to patients who are struggling to make ends meet in the current cost of living crisis.

“This has been a central plank of our advocacy and we thank every patient who shared their story about how charges levied by the Government were adding to their financial misery. We will write to Minister Donnelly in the coming days to thank him for successfully negotiating this important measure, alongside his Government colleagues who supported it.

“The abolition of hospital charges will also mean an end to debt collectors hounding cancer patients if they fail to pay within 47 days. Research undertaken by the Irish Cancer Society highlighted that this cruel practice has caused great distress to patients and their families, and we are relieved that it will stop when the hospital charges go. This is another reason why legislation to end hospital charges must be prioritised.

“The Irish Cancer Society is pleased that the National Cancer Strategy has been funded for the third successive year and that money has been made available to reduce waiting times. We will stay engaged with patients and clinicians over the winter period to monitor this and to ensure the funding is making a measurable difference.

“Finally, the Government’s commitment to funding a catch-up programme for HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccinations for boys and girls in secondary school and for women up to the age of 25 who may have missed vaccinations, as campaigned for by the Irish Cancer Society and other groups, is further welcome news.

“We will continue to campaign on the measures that did not get funded in Budget 2023, such as reductions in the cost of hospital car parking and the entitlement of every cancer patient to a medical card.”

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